Baby Steps: Big and Bounce

Baby Steps: Big and Bounce

#Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 06th June 2011 by Media Relations

At Bird Show we are currently

training two new additions for our show, Major

Mitchell Cockatoos, ‘Big’ and ‘Bounce’. ‘Big’ and ‘Bounce’, hatched in

October of last year and so have a lot of learning and growing up to do.

Learning good manners, such as when it is appropriate to bite is part of this.

Hopefully this is never. Their trainers Fle and Claudia are working with them,

ensuring they are comfortable stepping up onto the

keepers’ hands and into animal

transport packs. This will help us when training our birds to free-fly and also

if they have to visit the vets. Transport training is a great project to work

on with your pet parrot too.

If you’ve ever had a parrot as a

pet, you’d already know they can be a lot of work. Parrots can be extremely

loud, sociable and energetic, but generally of more concern to pet owners is

the fact that parrots can bite, and bite hard! This does not mean you have a

‘bad bird’ but rather gives both you and your parrot the opportunity to better

develop the relationship you have. They are trying to tell you something!

When a parrot bites this is a

concern for two reasons; from the owners’ perspective it hurts (!), but from

the parrots point of view, this is the final and most obvious way to let us

know they’d like some alone time. Prior to biting there are a whole bunch of

behaviours your companion bird will give, but if you are not used to them, you

may not notice and accidently get bitten. If you can become aware of what

happens before your parrots bites, you can change this and hopefully avoid the

undesirable biting behaviour.

If you’re parrot wants alone

time, let them have it. This gives your bird choice and makes the time you

spend together more rewarding for them. By giving them a small treat like a

sunflower seed each time makes it even more rewarding. At Bird Show we only

give sunflower seeds as special treats, not in their general diet due to their

incredibly high fat content. Imagine only being able to eat ‘Mars Bars’! How

would you feel then? When they are limited, the seeds are much better rewards.

As ‘Big’ and ‘Bounce’ have

reminded us, parrots require tonnes of things to occupy their time so they do

not become bored, but also need alone time too. Don’t push it, give your

parrots space and next time they bite, take a step back and ask yourself ‘what

did I do to cause him to bite?’ I think you’ll find your relationship will take

leaps and bounds.

Bird Trainer, Brendan